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Mental Health Awareness Resources and Events

 together for mental health banner

More than 51 million Americans live with a mental health condition. In 1990, Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). In honor of Mental Health Awareness week, we must continue to spread awareness, fight stigmas, and provide resources every day. This year’s MIAW is centered around the theme “What I Wish I Had Known.”

Please refer to the webinar, resources, upcoming events, and information regarding the non-police emergency hotline number 988 below


On Monday, September 19th, I spoke with mental health advocate Monica Luke to discuss the new nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline - 988. Click here to learn about the 988 number from Monday’s event sponsored by the Cambridge Public Library, and the Cambridge Public Health Department. Passcode: 7=BD@&4B


NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Check out their mental health toolkits and events throughout the week National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

The families and members of NAMI Cambridge / Middlesex are a grassroots, volunteer-run, non-profit, support, education, and advocacy group that advocates for better treatment, timely services, and a continuum of care for persons with mental illness Cambridge-Middlesex NAMI

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Check out the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, a confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment facilities in the United States or U.S.Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator

Upcoming Events

Yoga on the Lawn

Date and time will be updated

Come unwind and learn a basic yoga routine with city staff members. This event is open to the public and all levels are welcome to join.

NAMI Workshops

Date and time will be updated

City Employee Mental Health First Aid Training

Courses will be added online

Similar to CPR training, this training provides the certification and the skills for Mental Health first aid and what steps to take when handling a mental health crisis or issue. This training is an opportunity for City Employees to learn how to mitigate conflicts in the workplace or with constituents and residents.

What is 988

988 is the three-digit, nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline that provides 24/7, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.

As of July 16, 2022, all calls and text messages to “988” or chats to the Lifeline’s website at 988lifeline.org/chat route to a 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline call center. There is a national network of more than 200 crisis centers that help thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day. Centers are supported by local and state sources as well as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Tips and FAQs

What happens when I call 988?

Callers will first hear a greeting message while their call is routed to the local Lifeline network crisis center (based on the caller’s area code). A trained crisis counselor answers the phone, listens to the caller, understands how their problem is affecting them, provides support, and shares resources if needed. If the local crisis center is unable to take the call, the caller is automatically routed to a national backup crisis center.

Why was this created?

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is an important step toward strengthening and transforming crisis care in this country. The easy-to-remember 988 makes it easier for individuals in crisis to access the help they need and decreases the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. It serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.

How is 988 different from 911?

988 was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs. 988 provides easier access to the Lifeline network and related crisis resources, which are distinct from the public safety purposes of 911 - where the focus is on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police as needed.

Will 988 calls be referred to 911?

Currently, a small percentage of Lifeline calls require activation of the 911 system when there is imminent risk to someone’s life that cannot be reduced during the Lifeline call. In these cases, the crisis counselor shares information with 911 that is crucial to saving the caller’s life.

Is 988 available in all states and territories?

Yes, as long as the caller has telephone, cellular, or internet services available to them. Anyone who needs suicide or mental health-related crisis support, or who has a loved one in crisis, can connect with a trained counselor by calling, chatting, or texting 988.

What languages are available?

The Lifeline currently provides live crisis center calling services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages. Text and online chat are currently available in English only.

Does 988 trace the location of people who call, text, or chat?

a. When you reach out to 988, the Lifeline crisis counselor who responds to you will know your phone number if you call/text, or your IP address if you use chat. Beyond that, they will not know who you are or where you are located. And you are not required to provide any personal information to receive support from the 988 Lifeline.

b. If a 988 Lifeline crisis counselor makes an effort to gather information during a call, text or chat, it will be to:
i. Save lives
ii. Connect people to ongoing support
iii. Evaluate 988 Lifeline services.

Page was posted on 6/3/2020 8:35 AM
Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 3:17 AM
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